A Mountain Stiffy

It seems the entire population of Summit County is creaking and groaning and moaning; riding season has begun. We lumber around, zombie-like, sore bodies bound in layers and hoods. Range of motion is limited so driving is jerky and frantic. Add to that the onslaught of seasonal employees showing up and the Thanksgiving Crowd and you’ll realize it’s better to just take the bus.


I inculcated with 4 days straight of skiing; a few outings alone to get started then I joined a convening of the Wolf Pack. Through the village at Keystone, munching delicious InxPot bagels and beverages, we boarded the gondola. Through  the plexiglass casing, we studied the unopened runs below and around us.

It’s like peeking into a secret, to know what is actually under the snow. When Anne happily pointed out a shelf of craggy rocks off to the right and said, “and those are the cliffs where we like to play,” I decided some secrets may be better left untold.

We played all down the long runs at Keystone as we each worked on individual tricks and objectives for the season. A thin blanket of snow lay largely undisturbed this early in the morning and the corduroy was clean. At one point I looked across the run and we were riding 5 deep. It had a way of playing to the ego that only a fully air-bound frontal somersault ski assault could quell. I decided I am glad to be wearing a helmet this season and am grateful to Vail Resorts for providing their employees with them. While the benefits of wearing a helmet are disputed by heartless reality, I am happy for the cranial care.

If you plan to be active this winter, consider developing an apres-ski stretching routine. Give your body the chance, at least once a day, to have its say. To tell you what hurts and what’s sore and why and how. Along with teaching you more about your own geometry and ability, it will also help keep you from becoming a gnarled shell of knots. For 3 days now I have been unable to turn my head even as far as my shoulders. Everything creaked but nothing would pop.

Last night I resorted to filling a sock with rice and nuking it. Easing shoulders and back over that little sack on my living room floor, I began to appreciate a whole new set of muscles and ligaments in a new way.


Mad Props to my Pops, Kendall Hughes, who just ran 50 miles over East Coast rocks to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Here’s to getting ever nuttier!

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